JAMES FORD expressed his pride in the “toughness and grit” of his York City Knights side as they knocked London Broncos out of the Coral Challenge Cup.

York won 24-22 at the Ealing Trailfinders thanks to a converted Jimmy Keinhorst try two minutes from full-time to secure a first victory of the 2020 season.

The Knights had previously been beaten by Toulouse and Leigh and the trip to London looked like the hardest assignment to date on paper.

But, Ford’s side managed to upset the odds and book their spot in the fifth round draw.

“If you look at any sport and the genuine world-class, top players, top teams and top athletes, they have (all) got great attitude,” head coach Ford told BBC Radio York.

“They’ve got a great attitude towards hard-work and they’re resilient, they hang in there and they’re prepared to build a performance.

“I know that some supporters want us to be a little bit more risky (straight) from kick-off, but ultimately teams that win things don’t play like that.

“If you look at teams that win competitions, they are the best defensive sides.

“We are aiming to be the best defensive side. But we are aware that we need to improve with the ball.

“That doesn’t mean that we can chuck the ball about willy nilly, because those sides get beat by 50 (points).

“I’m really pleased with what we did (today) against a good side and we’re certainly going in the right direction.”

York were three tries behind after less than 20 minutes and a rout didn’t seem out of the question by that point.

The Knights boss praised the impact of the interchanges in turning round the deficit late in the first half and early in the second.

“We spoke about resilience at half-time and that was partly what we spoke about after the game as well”, Ford added.

“I thought that London started tremendously well, they got some tempo and shifted the ball.

“We handled those initial shifts, they just got us on those shifts coming back.

“Obviously, they’re a really well-coached and organised side.

“We struggled to handle them.

“I thought that our interchanges - (Kriss) Brining, (James) Green, (Marcus) Stock and (Jordan) Baldwinson - when they came on, they started giving us some tempo.

“From that, we could have a go at their edges on the back of some ruck speed.

“We fought our way back into the game and I’m really proud of the toughness and grit to handle that storm.

“I’m really pleased with the step forward that we’ve taken in possession today.”

The early second-half scores saw forwards Marcus Stock and Jordan Baldwinson go over the whitewash, with Ford insisting that the tries came about through tactical nous rather than brute force.

“It was well structured play,” he said. “We had a crash play and had shape out of the back.

“We created numbers on goal-line, which is hard because they’ve got two extra defenders, but that’s something that we’ve worked hard on this week.

“I’m really pleased that we scored two tries where we’ve executed those shapes within their ten.

“We’re really pleased with the learning that’s taken place this week and to be able to put it into practise against an awesome side in London.

“In those first 20 minutes, we probably needed 14 blokes out there to defend against them!”